Work has commenced near Stonehaven in Scotland to remove the train that was involved in the fatal accident on 12 August 2020 and reopen the railway.
Plans – developed alongside the police, accident investigators and other partner agencies – are now in place to remove the vehicles in a delicate process, which is expected to last for several days.
Specialist engineers will use a 600-tonne crawler crane to carefully lift the derailed carriages from the railway over the coming days.
Teams from across Network Rail and its contractors have carried out a massive amount of work at the site to prepare for this complex operation. They have constructed a new 900-metre road and temporary bridges over the surrounding farmland to bring the specialist lifting equipment to the site.
Once the carriages have been removed from the site, engineers will be able to assess the extent of repairs required to the tracks and bridge damaged in the derailment.
Until those inspections are complete, no exact timescales can be placed on the reopening of the line for customers. but it is likely to be a number of weeks.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Scottish Government, visited the site on Monday 7 September 2020. He said: “My thoughts continue to remain with the family and friends of those affected by this tragic incident.
“I’m here today to understand the scale of the work being undertaken and to show my, and the Scottish Government’s, continued support for those involved in the investigation, recovery and service restoration.
“The RAIB investigation will ensure that any safety lessons are learned quickly and I will be interested to hear what comes of this and how Network Rail can take these forward in the future. An investigation of this type is so comprehensive and it will now take time to restore the site of the incident so rail services can be reintroduced as soon as possible.
“As we move towards the recovery phase and given the scale of this enormous challenge I would like to thank all those involved for their efforts undertaken at the site.”